Stephen Kinzer’s 2008 book All the Shah’s Men traces the roots of today’s Middle East terror to when the United States and Great Britain engineered the return of the Shah of Iran to power in Iran in a 1953 “coup.”
The Iranian mullah leadership have embraced Kinzer’s view and repeatedly describe America as “The Great Arrogance.”
And since the mullahs seized power in 1979, the Iran “terror masters” have been the primary terror threat to the U.S., murdering thousands of Americans in Beirut, Lockerbie, Khobar Towers, the African Embassies, the World Trade Center on 9-11, and in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Iran is an Islamic revolutionary power seeking to expand its writ by terror. Obviously, the set of standards of international behavior established by the western powers upon the end of World War 2 stand in the way of Iran’s ambitions thus their anger at the U.S. and the West for such “great arrogance.”
It is not a coincidence that from 1945 through the end of the Cold War, the rise in prosperity around the world, along with the parallel spread of free and relatively democratic nations, was in historical terms breathtaking.
Especially as the West was simultaneously defending against the Soviet empire and its terrorist accomplices – from cross border invasions as on the Korean peninsula; to guerilla wars in Vietnam, Angola and Nicaragua; to terrorism from FARC, the FMLN, the Sandinistas, the Castro and Kim regimes in Cuba and North Korea, respectively, as well as from Iran and Syria and its ally Hezbollah.
But Iran is not alone in its antipathy to the established rules of international behavior. It is often joined by Russia, China, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea, all harsh dictatorships; state sponsors of terrorism; and cooperating to develop both ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Unfortunately, the United States in particular and the West in general apparently has lost confidence in its ability to counter these regimes. We appear to have lost sight of some basic tenets of what a successful security policy should entail, especially an unwillingness to see these threats clearly. We argue the minute elements of the nuclear deal Iran has no desire to implement and seem oblivious that Iran is a grave threat to Americans and has been at war with us since 1969.
The American Secretary of Defense has made a good start at a recovery with his recent stark reminder that Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, and then Islamic terror groups, are indeed our mortal enemies.
And they work together.
We know that Iran’s military leaders routinely visit North Korean nuclear and missile launch and test facilities. We know the Syrian nuclear reactor was built with North Korean technicians and financed by Iranian oil revenue, even as the nuclear watch dog inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Administration were for the most part, face down, and sound asleep in their bowls of Viennese Alpo.
Reliable sources now indicate Iran has a permanent facility in North Korea near the border with China – no doubt to both facilitate the presence and cooperation of Iranian scientists at all the missile launches and nuclear tests.
Furthermore Iran’s behavior violates all international norms of conduct, including launching ballistic missiles banned by the UN; capturing and using for propaganda purposes U.S. Navy personnel in violation of maritime rules of conduct and human rights laws; supporting terrorist organizations whose sole admitted purpose is the destruction of the state of Israel; hanging homosexuals from building cranes across the Tehran skyline; and torturing, murdering and even stoning to death imprisoned Iranians under Islamic Sharia law.
Whatever one might think of the nuclear deal with Iran which the US agreed to, Iran did not agree to all its provisions and certainly has evidenced no regime behavior that indicates any subsequent “moderation” in its terrorist ways.
What can we expect of the future?
A new American administration takes office in less than a year. The policy tool kit labelled “Iran” that will be left on the desk of the next President may be mostly empty.
Will we have adequate ballistic missile and cruise defenses? Will our nuclear deterrent umbrella for our Middle Eastern allies foster non-proliferation or will our nervous allies go nuclear?
Will our space assets and conventional military capability be able to implement a sound terror campaign? Will we have the guts to economically “lock-down” the financing of Iranian terrorism? Will we be able to pursue sound energy policies such as flex fuel vehicles and the higher production and export of oil and gas? Or will OPEC remain able to dictate price and supply?
The late Congresswoman Lindy Boggs told me years ago in reference to the Soviet Union, “If you are going to dance with a dangerous bear, keep him very close.” Another way of putting it was President Reagan’s warning: “Trust, but verify.”
Tragically, we are now engaged in a “deadly embrace” of the Mullahs in Iran.
While Boggs and Reagan meant us to watch the Russian bear carefully, that unfortunately is not what is going on with Iran. We are indeed very close – but it just makes it easier for the Iranian knives to go in deeper.
The facts are that in 1953 the Shah had the constitutional power to restore political order in Iran and fire the then Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh who was busy stealing private oil property and partnering up with the Soviet Union.
But Kinzer and the Mullahs – and their American allies – prefer “to blame America”.
That, too, has a price. In the deaths of thousands of Americans since 1979.
A version of this piece previously appeared on The Daily Caller.